We don’t really hear about the progress that is being made in Africa which is why you need to know about the 19 year old tech genius who is coding at Ethiopia’s first artificial intelligence lab. Ethiopia is a beautiful country in the East Africa region and is making strides in the IT sector.
Betelhem Dessie isn’t your average 19-year girl but rather she is the youngest Ethiopian tech person. The tech scene in Ethiopia is known as the Sheba Valley and for good reason. She is coordinating with various nationwide programs that are being run by the robotics lab called iCog. It is also the AI lab based in Addis Ababa which has introduced the famous robot Sophia to the world.
One of her feats is that, Dessie has four amazing software programs that have been solely copyrighted to her which includes an app that is used for irrigation and has also mapped the Ethiopian rivers for the government.
Everything started when Dessie was only 9. It was during her 9th birthday that she had asked money from her father but he didn’t have any that she decided to do things on her own. She used every material around her that she could get her hands on. It started out with very small tasks like forwarding music to client’s mobiles and video editing. She managed to get about $90 and that is when she celebrated her birthday.
Tech in the Ethiopian local community
The Ethiopian tech industry seems to be en route to take off since the launch of iCog in 2012. The country’s economy has experienced liberalization since the Prime Minister has vowed to make changes. Solve IT is one of the programs, which are lead by Dessie at iCog, that is targeted towards young people so as to enable them to find solutions through technology for problems faced by the community.
Dessie has traveled across the country to work with different students, some of whom are older than her to inspire them to be a part of the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Being younger than other teachers makes her feel more connected with the students.
As more and more women enroll in science and technology studies, it is important for the industry to become more inclusive. Dessie has a passion for technology and believes that it could help the country significantly and change her life in the process. She is a role model for young women in the industry.
Other African countries want to catch up with the rest of the world and that is why Kenya is also making changes. A new urban center right outside the capital of Nairobi is being created to lure companies by creating a special economic zone where lower taxes would need to be paid. Another similar center is the Tatu City which is also outside the capital Nairobi.
Ghana, on the other hand, has also announced a $10 Billion super high-tech satellite city which would be planned outside Accra. The project Hope City, Ghana is aiming to host Africa’s tallest building.